“When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.” – Acts 2:1 (NRSV)
After Easter, the disciples gathered together often, trying to make sense of life without Jesus. Sometimes they gathered behind locked doors in fear. Sometimes they met in familiar places, like their fishing boats, with a longing to return to that elusive state called “normal.” Sometimes they came together to observe the rhythms of their religious life, the holy days and the prayers and the commemorations.
Together: it’s often where we find God. And when we’re struggling to find God, together is how we hold on.
Together is also a place where we can become stuck.
Together can become sufficient, providing comfort without challenge, adequacy but not abundance. Together can become safe for the sake of staying in, to the neglect of going out. Together can become authoritative, a judgment of “them vs. us,” a closed community into which nothing (and no one) new is invited or imagined.
When Pentecost day began, the disciples were all together in one place.
When Pentecost day ended, the disciples had gone out from their one place. Together multiplied. New togethers formed. New dreams sparked. New songs arose. New witnesses testified. New generosity flowed.
And the original together—the disciples who had been trying to hold on one day at a time, trying to make sense of their new normal? They changed. “All together” became their call, not just their comfort.
Rush of Wind, Tongue of Fire, Bewilderment of Understanding: you envision us all together. Change us, call us, discomfort us, so that it may be so.
Rachel Hackenberg serves on the national staff for the United Church of Christ. She is the author of Writing to God and Sacred Pause, among other titles. Her blog is Faith and Water.